Beware: These foods can damage your metabolism!

While “a moment on the lips,” is well-known for meaning “forever on the hips,” did you know it can mean forever damaging your metabolism too?

It was previously thought that weight gain and weight loss were governed solely by the laws of thermodynamics (aka calories in vs. calories out.) Emerging research seems to point otherwise; not all calories are created equal. The same 100 calories that you take in guzzling a can of soda is a lot different inside the body than the 100 calories in your broccoli. Here are six foods that cost more than just their calorie load in ways of weight gain.

1. Soda

One of the main reasons soda gets a bad rap is because it’s sweetened with a little something known as high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). HFCS, a sweetener found in many of America’s highly processed foods and soft drinks, is as damaging as it is cheap. It has been argued that Fructose consumed in the same quantities as other sugar has more damaging effects on the metabolism (making it an even more sinister commodity). A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition further explained the link between HFCS and obesity. HFCS may lead to obesity because of its negative effects on the metabolism. In fact, consuming high fructose corn syrup can cause something called “metabolic syndrome,” which is basically a group of risk factors for diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Therefore, drinking a glass of soda can directly hurt your metabolism.

2. Margarine

Drawn to the health claims on the package, many people often choose margarine over real butter. While it is true that butter is packed with saturated fats, margarine contains hydrogenated fats or trans fats, which may be more harmful to your health. Trans fats can lead to insulin resistance, which in its turn may lead to a slower metabolism and weight gain.

3. Refined foods

Refined foods such as white bread, pasta, rice, among other simple carbohydrates are easily broken down by the body because the indigestible fiber has been taken out. In contrast, fiber-rich foods, such as whole-wheat bread and other whole grains, stoke the metabolic fire. Our bodies need to work harder to get the nutrients out of these fiber-rich foods, burning more calories on the way.

4. Farmed Beef (vs. Grass-Fed)

Conventionally farmed beef can hurt our metabolisms. Conventionally farmed beef has more antibiotics than grass-fed beef. For years, we were unaware what deleterious effects the antibiotics would have on our health. One study published in Front Public Health explained the harm antibiotics have on the good bacteria in the gut of consumers. This change in bacteria in the gut is correlated with an increase in weight gain, as it changes and negatively affects the way we process food. Simply stated, consuming antibiotics from meat can make us gain weight. Our recommendation is to choose grass-fed meat as much as possible.

5. Conventional (non-organic) apples

Organic fruits are more expensive for more reasons than one. One study published in the Journal of Medical Toxicology showed the toxic effects of pesticides from fruits and vegetables actually caused metabolic changes (by increasing the rate at which fat cells were made) in mice, causing them to gain weight. This means the mice were eating “healthy” fruits and vegetables in the same quantities as the organic control group and were STILL gaining weight. This illustrates the metabolic changes in the mice directly from the pesticides. To limit exposure to pesticides, when it comes to the “Dirty Dozen,” (the fruits and vegetables which are most likely to soak up pesticides and bad bacteria) buy organic. To further limit pesticide exposure be sure to wash all fruits and vegetables well after purchase.

6. Canola/Vegetable oil

Although previously touted as a health food, canola oil is actually quite the opposite. That’s because it’s a major source of omega-6 fatty acids, which may lead to a slower metabolism. Whereby the American diet used to be balanced in both omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, a push towards higher processing has left our country filled with vegetable oils and hydrogenated fats (high sources of Omega-6), which are pro-inflammatory, and the consumption of these are correlated with obesity. A review published in the journal Nutrients explained that “A high omega-6 fatty acid intake and a high omega-6/omega-3 ratio are associated with weight gain in both animal and human studies, whereas a high omega-3 fatty acid intake decreases the risk for weight gain.” The review further explains that omega-6 fatty acids promote insulin resistance (where our body turns too much of our carbohydrates into fat) and leptin resistance (leptin is the hormone which tells us when we are full; if we are resistant, we never feel full). To limit omega-6s in your diet, switch canola oil out for olive oil.